Today is Giving Tuesday, hot on the heels of Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Melt on The Couch Because You’re So Damn Tired Sunday.

Folks, we are officially in the holiday season. Yikes.

By now you’ve probably already read various posts about how to survive the holidays and make them more meaningful without getting sucked into the chaos. You also probably came across ideas such as gifting experiences rather than objects, remembering the reason for the season (which, despite what my kids will tell you, is not acquiring every Lego Friends set ever made)  and adopting an attitude of gratitude. Cheesy rhymes aside, this is all solid advice.

There’s just one problem with all of it: It’s hard to do.

It’s hard to be intentional and chill and super mindful during the holidays for a few different reasons:

  • Very little about our popular culture supports you in doing anything other than buying all the crap all the time.
  • You may have a history of getting sucked into the busyness of decorating and cooking and shopping and trying to make everyone else happy, all of which may have been exacerbated once you became a parent and wanted to make the holiday “perfect” for your kids.
  • The holidays can be triggering because of loss, divorce, family tension, mental health concerns, financial stressors, or any number of other issues.
  • You feel compelled to continue with old holiday traditions or rituals, even when they don’t work for you anymore.
  • Your schedules and routines get disrupted by travel plans, guests, holiday events, and days off school.
  • Things get so busy that you forget to take care of your basic needs (sleep, exercise, quiet time, etc), while holding yourself to even higher standards than you usually do.

This isn’t going to be another post reminding you to be breathe and go slowly (although that is excellent advice). Rather, I want to explore what you can to make easier to be intentional in how you spend your time, money, and energy during the holidays, rather than getting caught up in old habits or reactive behaviors.

You can read the rest of this post over on my Mindful Parenting Blog on PsychCentral.